Monitoring: Following up with Role Model Men and VSLA groups

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Throughout the month of May, HANDLE has conducted follow-up sessions with groups of Role Model Men (RMM) and each of its VSLA groups to track their progress and maximize their success, a crucial step to ensure proper evaluation and progress of its initiatives for the GBV program.

Six RMM gathered with staff for a roundtable discussion of their actions within their individal communities. HANDLE aims to ensure that their training does not go to waste: we want to make sure that our RMM are active agents of change, influencing their families and neighbours in addressing issues and conflicts that manifest in GBV.

Meeting with the RMM to follow-up on their community activities.

HANDLE is happy to report that all six of our RMM we met with are already engaged in diffusing challenging conflicts within their communities. Each man to-date has already begun working with 1-2 cases including domestic violence, child neglect, and land wrangles. While HANDLE will be giving the participants more intensive training on gender equality and GBV, the men reported feeling confident with the training provided by HANDLE to face these issues on their own.

HANDLE also took the opportunity to provide further clarification on the roles of the RMM, as well as more deeply explain the premise of the “multiplier effect” of the RMM principle. That is, each RMM will work closely with up to 10 households within their community to sensitize them on the effects of GBV and the benefits of gender equality and to mediate communal conflicts where appropriate to diffuse tense situations that could lead to future violence. This means that if each of our RMM works with 10 households, the indirect beneficiaries of the intervention could add up to 300 households!

Not forgetting the women, HANDLE has been busy visiting our women’s VSLA groups to monitor their savings meetings. Staff is on hand to observe how well the groups are following the procedures and to identify any issues or challenges the groups may be having. This is an important step in monitoring the processes to ensure that any issues are resolved before they get bigger. It also helps us to inform future training so that we can make modifications to our program to deliver the best information possible to our beneficiaries.

Verifying that the VSLA methodological processes are being properly followed is key to success. Above, we can see one beneficiary receiving her approved loan from the group, in plain site of other members to ensure the count is correct (left). The image to the right shows the unlocking of the savings box: three “key keepers” are selected to guard the keys. This is a safeguard to make sure that one member is not dipping into the savings to the disadvantage of others and this practice helps build trust among the group.

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